End of 1st Season - Time to Surf?

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End of 1st Season - Time to Surf?

Postby g00mbs » Mon Oct 07, 2013 4:04 pm

I'm still new to the area and as the wind dies it is time to find something else to fill my weekends.

Why not try surfing? So, here are some noob questions for any surfers on the forums:

Is it worth it to get lessons?
I assume people will say yes, but was just looking for experiences.
It was obvious to get lessons for kiting, but I have had a number of opinions ranging from go get lessons, to just watch some youtube videos and get out in surf.

Any recommendations on where to get lessons?
I'm not looking for straight up shameless plugs here, but figured I would ask this anyway.

Where are good places to learn?
So far the suggestions have been Cowells, Capitola, and Pacifica. Any opinions on the pros and cons of each spot?

Gear - I have 4:3 wetsuit and booties. I assume that would be sufficient for right now.

If there are other forums to check out or resources, that could be good info too.

Any other tips, please feel free to chime in.
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Re: End of 1st Season - Time to Surf?

Postby Cosmicocean » Mon Oct 07, 2013 4:57 pm

Hi g00mbs,

Definetely reccomend doing the sport that started all,
As far as lessons, IMO getting them i'm sure wont hurt
But wave knowledge is a skill that takes a whole life to
Develop, and nothing can replace the trial and error that you need,

So yes, start in lindamar and work on endless paddling, swimming and
Diving fitness necessary, since as hard as kiting can be in my humble
Opinion surfing is physically and skill-wise way, way harder..

Go get it!
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Re: End of 1st Season - Time to Surf?

Postby toddeby » Mon Oct 07, 2013 8:34 pm

For lesson's go down to Santa Cruz, there's several good schools that teach out of Cowell's which is a nice beginner friendly break. I think folks have good things to say about Santa Cruz Surf School.

Don't go to Linda Mar learn if you can avoid it...while it's an ok place to surf if you have to, it's not my first choice when folks ask for a recommendation.

You'll need to get a board sooner rather than later, go used off of Criagslist don't buy new.
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Re: End of 1st Season - Time to Surf?

Postby jwest21 » Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:30 am

I had a good time at Stinson beach and Linda Mar is alright, but I'm a Hawaii wave snob so I haven't spent much time in the oceans here. Learning how the waves will behave is the biggest hurdle you'll have to deal with, second to the physical strength it simply takes to paddle out. Before and after sessions should be spent studying the waves: count the sets, notice how and where a wave of each size breaks, observe which waves will closeout. Even if it's out of your skill range, hang out on shore and check out a point break, shore break and shelf break (anybody know if there are any of those along the CA coast?). Knowing the differences can teach you a lot about how and why a wave breaks. Google bathymetry and have fun reading.

I've had no issue with a 4:3 wetsuit and definitely bring the booties, but you'll probably want a hood as well. It took me a few sessions thinking I was just really out of shape and straining my body before realizing my headaches were from duck-diving under the water and freezing my brain.

Lessons, I'd say meh. Not necessary by any means but you should try to get out with a buddy for safety reasons and general support. Your first waves should include some hooting and hollering of encouragement from nearby friends. I've mostly always told friends that wanted to learn to surf that the only thing I can teach them is to not hold the rails when pushing up to standing, but instead push direct center of the board, like doing diamond push-ups. Nearly everything else is trial and error.

Rotation and right of way rules I guess are pretty important as well; it won't make you a better surfer, but following the rules will return mutual respect. Always remember that a rider on a wave has the right of way and that can sometimes means riding into the face of a breaking wave to get our of their way. Don't suddenly change direction last minute if you do find yourself in the way, the rider probably can steer around you easier than you can paddle out of the way. Dropping in is one of the biggest no-nos and will make you plenty of enemies in no time. This is probably better than me trying to explaining it: http://www.srosurf.com/rules.html

Good luck!!!
Sold all my gear; ebbs and flows; see you next season.

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."
— Albert Einstein
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Re: End of 1st Season - Time to Surf?

Postby jwest21 » Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:37 am

OH YEAH! I forgot to mention, I spent a lot of time during my initial learning years increasing my lung capacity and getting used to keeping it together with no air left in your lungs. I've had at least two occasions which likely would have put me in great danger had I not done this. Getting held underwater by a few large waves in a row is just part of the sport and in extreme cases, you can get the wind knocked out of you in a wipe-out before getting held under water. One of my incidents also included being dragged across a rocky bottom with no air and a nearly endless supply of overhead waves. Be prepared and train your body to not panic.
Sold all my gear; ebbs and flows; see you next season.

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."
— Albert Einstein
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Re: End of 1st Season - Time to Surf?

Postby etxxz » Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:00 pm

+1 lindamar. south most end on a log (long and *wide*). no lessons. everything will come to you in time.

4/3 is OK. I surf (and kite) on a 5/3. Booties on cold days double my water time. Gloves on the coldest of days.

this is a life long sport. be patient, specially at the beiginning because its a shallow learning curve. Everything else from etiquette to physical to forecasting to equipment will come to you as you progress.

I want to +1 what Cosmicocean said. You will paddle your ass off. The better you get, the less you'll paddle and the more waves you'll catch. Funny right.

I live close to lindamar and been in the water every day for two weeks so pm me this weekend and i'll get you started. Its been super fun lately! Sonlight or NorCal surf shops there will rent you a board for cheap... but if you reaaaally want to lean, go for a used one right off the bat. ~9ft+ and 22-23in wide. Anything wider gets tough to paddle on. Its like banging a fat chick on a water bed.



and no i don't know what thats like... i've never been on a water bed.
=*
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Re: End of 1st Season - Time to Surf?

Postby Bulldog » Fri Oct 11, 2013 8:51 am

Just to emphasize a point that Jwest made that might have gotten buried:

Waves in fall and winter can get very large at all but a few of the breaks in Norcal. It's not safe for you to go out in those conditions while you are learning and developing your physical capabilities and knowledge. You will also piss people off.

Remember that a break you surfed on Tuesday in small, mellow waves can become a completely different place if a big swell hits the next day -- or even a few hours later. Wind and tide can make a big difference too.

Watching good surfers work a big swell from the beach is better than watching Youtube, and is like a lesson in itself -- not a wasted trip.
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Re: End of 1st Season - Time to Surf?

Postby g00mbs » Sat Oct 12, 2013 7:22 pm

Thanks to everyone that added some info to this thread. I appreciate it!

Today, my wife and I headed out to Santa Cruz with the intention of hitting up Cowells with a couple friends. Cowells was flat and ended up at 38th after renting a 10 ft foamy.

Ended up catching some waves, only really stood up on one. At least caught other waves but dropped out due to someone else having the wave.

It was a fun time and I'll be looking to get some more time in the water. I'll keep my eyes open on Craigslist and try to find a decent but lower cost board if possible.
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